Every Friday from now until football season, I give this post up to you. You give me your favorite, most memorable, funniest, saddest, whatever story related to UK athletics. It doesn’t have to be any minimum length although the person who send me a 1-sentence post probably will not make it. But I just want the story that you always tell your friends or means the most to you. You don’t have to use your name. Just send it to me at [email protected]
This is in tribute to my best friend. You’ll never be forgotten……
Growing up in a basketball crazed state, it’s rare to find someone who has such great passion for UK Football. For most, football season is just a means to pass the time until Midnight Madness. For myself and my friend Derek, UK football was much more. We loved game days, and I always remember him showing up at my apartment in college prior to kick-off with a different kind of intensity on his face. He was ALWAYS ready. He loved Lorenzen, Snedegar, James Whalen, and had a difficult love/hate relationship with Dusty Bonner. We suffered through many tough losses together (you all know the feeling) and I remember the disappointment in his face after we made the trip to Nashville for the 1999 Music City Bowl only to be defeated by Syracuse. He wanted nothing more than to see HIS team win a bowl game.
Sadly, in the summer of 2004 he was shot and killed in a robbery. Watching UK Football after that was never really the same for me. It carried a certain sadness, but also grew in importance because that was one way I was able to stay connected to his memory.
Long story short, in December 2006, myself and a couple of friends made that same drive to Nashville that Derek and I had made 7 years before. We watched UK beat Clemson and as the clock was winding down I made my way to the overhang of the upper deck concourse and found a spot by myself to watch the clock strike zero. I thought it was only fitting to enjoy the celebration with just myself and my best friend looking down. I’ll never forget how much that victory meant to me and I only wish Derek could have been there in person to see something he never got to witness in his lifetime.
Sometimes sports, teams, games, etc. are taken too seriously, but there are moments for some that they become transcendent. This was one of those times.